a Q&A with L. Austen Johnson | Indieathon

Hello and welcome to another Indieathon themed Q & A! Today we have the lovely L. Austen Johnson with us and I hope you all enjoy the post! 

Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a student by day, poet/dreamer by night. I’m obsessed with the idea of time-traveling, with the metaphor of space turned real, and so I studied Archaeology and Astronomy to complement my English degree. Three things I love in the world are my pets, books, and perfectly prepared tea. One of my favorite poetry critics is John Stuart Mills, and my favorite poet is Eavan Boland. I’ve been on Goodreads since I was in high school, and I’ve found it to be one of the most rewarding social media accounts I have. Keeping up with current books and finding new favorites is such an exciting experience, and I love seeing the opinions of my GR friends. Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr @laustenjohnson or visit my website.

Describe one of your books in five words.
Being alive and realizing it

How did you become an author?
I’ve been writing since I was in middle school. I had this amazing English teacher in 8th grade who used a special mode of teaching where the emphasis was on learning and creation (and not testing). So, we wrote essays, short stories, poems and kept turning them in for revisions. A work was done when we felt it was as polished and as strong as it could be. And that’s what we got graded on. For 13-year-old me, that was a revelation—that the process of creating could be as important as the final product, and that teacher honestly changed my life. Her encouragement of my creative talents kindled the fire I had for writing and reading. She read all my poetry (even though, looking back now, it seems cringe worthy), and she nominated me for a national award. That really gave me confidence in my mind and my passion. Fast forward through high school, where I worked on the school’s literary magazine, to college, where I had an amazing group of professors that encourage the type of abstract and analytical thinking that I believe often show up in poetry. I met Morissa Schwartz, the founder of GenZ Publishing, and the rest is history. I queried anonymously (since I knew Morissa), the other editors liked my work, and I worked hard on my book.

What is it like to self-publish/indie publish a book?
Seeing as my book isn’t coming out until April, I may not be able to fully answer this question. For me, working with a publisher was great, but I also chose to do the interior layout for my book, because I have a passion for (and some success in) graphic design. I had to figure out which poems I was going to include in the collection and in what order. My poetry collection tells a story, but not in a linear narrative, like The Princess Saves Herself in This One. I like to think of Burning the Bacon as more of a tapestry of different stories, some inspired by my life, some not—all with elements of the fictional and yet no less “real” or “true” as a result. I partnered with an illustrator to do the interior images. Personally, I find that certain types of poetry really benefit from accompanying pictures, and I’m such an aesthetically-oriented person already that it made sense to include illustrations in the collection. GenZ Publishing was great throughout the process. Most of the publishing process is about waiting patiently, which can be hard, but if you do indie or self-publishing, you have more control of the creative process. For example, by doing the interior layout and cover design (not the cover art, though), I was able to cut production time significantly. From start to end, getting my book published took just under a year. And it’s a dream come true.

While you're here don't forget to keep an eye on the Indieathon twitter as there's a giveaway going on at the moment so head on over for a chance at winning a bunch of e-books!

eloise x

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